What happened: Indie mobile game Party.io became the most-downloaded free game by Chinese Apple App Store users after videos of gameplay went viral on Douyin, known as TikTok overseas. Somewhat like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., the English-only app features cartoonish figures attempting to pick up and throw each other out of a combat arena. After videos of play battles caught the attention of Douyin viewers, Party.io surged past PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in popularity. The app is also a hit in over 20 other countries, not including the US.
Why it’s important: The rapid rise of Party.io has mainly been attributed to its popularity on China’s hottest live-streaming app. Chinese news articles refer to Party.io as the “Douyin throwing people game,” and a Baidu search for the app name alone also brings up references to Douyin. The English-language game’s massive surge in popularity thanks to Douyin is perhaps unprecedented, and speaks to the influence of the short-video app, which has 500 million active users. Whether the game can keep up its momentum among users eager for novelty remains to be seen, however.